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Interview with Linda Haenel, VOICE 2024 Chairperson

By GO SEMI & Beyond Staff

Advantest’s VOICE 2024 Developer Conference will take place June 3-5 at the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines in San Diego, California. To learn what VOICE 2024 holds in store for attendees, we interviewed this year’s general chairperson, Linda Haenel, application consultant, Performance Digital Center of Expertise, Advantest Europe.

Q. With VOICE 2024 taking place in San Diego, how will this year’s location impact the event?

A. San Diego holds great importance for our industry. We anticipate large attendance at this year’s event due to the significant local presence of major semiconductor companies such as Qualcomm, NXP, and Infineon, as well as the location’s relative proximity to Silicon Valley. Also, with the Semiconductor Wafer Test Conference also being held June 3-5 at the Omni La Costa in Carlsbad, we will likely experience some cross-traffic between SWTest and VOICE. We are thrilled to be hosting VOICE at a location that is both accessible and beautiful, with this year’s venue nestled alongside the California coast, offering breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean.

Q. As the VOICE 2024 chair, what would you hope to see, or what would you hope attendees will gain?

A.  As they do every year, the members of the VOICE committee work hard to offer a memorable event where industry experts come together to share information, learn, collaborate, and network. I want each attendee to come home with something – a new thought, idea, or contact that will inspire them. We’ve built VOICE to be a platform that fosters the exchange of great ideas, leading to the innovations that propel our industry forward, “beyond the technology horizon.” We’ve adopted this theme once again because it is so descriptive – VOICE has always strived to deliver a glimpse beyond that horizon, through test experts’ papers, panels and kiosk presentations, to future advancements.


Q. This year marks Advantest’s 70th anniversary. What does this milestone mean to VOICE?

A.  In many ways, VOICE is emblematic of the relationships Advantest has developed over the past 70 years that have led us to where we are today. Many of the companies participating have worked with Advantest for decades, developing creative products and innovations that pioneered new standards for our industry. We are incredibly grateful to celebrate this milestone with them, and we’re excited to think about what the future, and our 100th anniversary, will bring as we continue to work closely together. 

Q. What are some of the hot trends and topics for 2024?

A.  Our committee accepted more than 100 technical papers this year – a new VOICE record. These papers are distributed over nine technical tracks, and we expect Test Methodologies, High-Performance Digital, and 5G/Millimeter Wave to be featured significantly during the technical sessions.

We are excited to introduce a new Artificial Intelligence (AI) track for VOICE 2024. This track will examine how engineers can benefit from utilizing AI applications in semiconductor production test for data analysis. Papers will also explore how our industry can utilize AI applications in test engineering to streamline test program development. 

There will also be presentations showcasing Advantest’s new Pin Scale Multilevel Serial for the V93000 EXA Scale platform. Released last year, this new product is both the first native and fully integrated HSIO instrument that expands the EXA Scale platform to address signaling requirements for advanced communication interfaces. The card’s multi-level capability enables new signaling schemes emerging in HPC/AI and consumer markets, supporting NRZ and PAM4. 

Q. What highlights of this year’s event do you recommend attendees not miss?

A.  As always, there is much to look forward to. The conference will begin with a welcome reception on Monday evening that will offer a valuable opportunity to network with representatives from leading semiconductor companies. Concurrent with the reception, we will host the Technology Kiosk Showcase, which will include inspiring displays of the latest innovations that leverage Advantest’s broad product portfolio.

Tuesday and Wednesday will feature engaging keynotes from semiconductor market analysts and leading professionals. The Partners’ Expo is also open throughout Tuesday and Wednesday, allowing attendees to engage with our technology partners to discuss their latest products and solutions. 

I am especially excited for Tuesday’s evening event that will take us to the Birch Aquarium, where attendees will enjoy a lovely evening dinner alongside exhibits featuring tropical fish, Leopard Sharks, giant kelp forests, and Little Blue Penguins. The Birch Aquarium is associated with the University of California San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography and, much like Advantest, maintains a strong commitment to sustainability and local conservation efforts. We look forward to learning more about how we can preserve our oceans and the unique wildlife that lives beneath the surface. 

We will close VOICE 2024 on Wednesday afternoon with an award ceremony celebrating the best papers and honorable mentions. We will also give out the Visionary Award, presented annually to a customer who has made significant, sustained contributions to VOICE over a long period.

Q.  Who will be joining us for this year’s highly anticipated keynote addresses?

A.  I am pleased to announce that VOICE 2024 will feature three dynamic keynote speakers.

Our first speaker, on Tuesday, will be Craig Nishizaki, vice president of the Test Solutions Group at NVIDIA, which is responsible for providing manufacturing hardware and software test solutions for all NVIDIA’s products, from chips to boards to servers. 

Our second Tuesday keynote will be delivered by Marcelo Ackermann, professor, XUV Optics Group at the University of Twente (Netherlands), and chair of the Industry Focus Group – X-ray and EUV (XUV) optics at the university’s MESA+ institute. As a professor, he focuses on the development of next-generation reflective, refractive and transparent X-ray and EUV optics in collaboration with industry partners like Zeiss, ASML, and Malvern Panalytical. 

Wednesday’s keynote will be presented by Andrea Lati, director of market research at TechInsights. For more than two decades, Andrea has managed and developed forecasting models as well as performed market analysis and research on electronics, semiconductor, and equipment markets for TechInsights.

As a final note, we would like to thank our VOICE 2024 sponsors for making this year’s event possible—in particular, our headline sponsors, ISE Labs, ASE Group and Alliance ATE Consulting Group. The full list of sponsors can be found here.

To learn more about keynotes, papers, and other details related to VOICE 2024, be sure to keep checking the VOICE website. And don’t forget to register here to reserve your spot!

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Test Needs and Solutions for High-End SoCs

Q&A Interview with Ralf Stoffels


High-performance computing (HPC) is a major driver for the SoC test market, in which Advantest holds a dominant share. Sustaining and extending this leadership requires capitalizing on the company’s already strong portfolio by pursuing new strategies. Our staff spoke with Ralf Stoffels, Advantest Executive Officer and V93000 Division Manager, who expanded on key points from a presentation given to Advantest investors in December 2022.

Q. Let’s start with the HPC market. What are some reasons it is such a driving force?

A. The semiconductor industry is widely projected to become a US$1 trillion market by 2030, with three segments representing 70% of this growth: automotive, wireless communications, and computing and data storage. If you look at the evolution of HPC, each new era has emerged more quickly than the last, and we are now at the point where the demand for processing high volumes of data has propelled us into the age of exascale computing (Figure 1). 

Figure 1. Each successive era of computing is evolving orders of magnitude more quickly than the one before, with HPC and AI driving the semiconductor industry toward the $1T mark by 2030.

Q.What are some of the specific HPC trends, and why are they pushing SoC test forward?

A. The technical trends for HPC illustrate the growing level of complexity in these applications. Key trends include: the rise of chiplets, which we’re seeing everywhere; new Arm server CPUs; larger packages for smaller nodes, which are being ramped by computing rather than mobile devices; 3D package constructs, from micro bumps to hybrid bonding; heightened power and thermal demands created by power supplies; and massive communication challenges created by very large, high-speed data networks.

Data centers, one of the primary applications for HPC chips, are essential for training and operating AI models, which are being employed for everything from autonomous driving to advanced chatbot assistants. In turn, this requires access to the tens of thousands of graphical processing units (GPUs) needed to analyze high volumes of data in real time.

All of these developments together create massive data requirements that result in new test demands to accommodate this 100x rise in complexity, which is pushing the ATE market toward US$10 billion by the end of the decade, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. Fast-growing device complexity is driving the market size for ATE. These indicators point to the total available market reaching US$10 billion by 2030.

Q. HPC processors have a longer product development cycle than those for, say, smartphones. At what point in this process does test become critical?

A. During the early phases of product development, semiconductor manufacturers are focused on improving productivity while optimizing techniques essential to functionality. The need for test is particularly high during these early stages. HPC devices are no different in this respect. There are many test needs associated with ramping new nodes, and next-generation devices are always in development. While test is most critical during early development to achieve desired functionality and eliminate bugs, test needs will be consistently distributed across the lifetime of new and emerging devices.

Q. How has the V93000 contributed to Advantest securing its strong market position in SoC?

A. We’re addressing these complex demands with the latest offshoot of our flagship V93000 platform, the V93000 EXA Scale. Establishing V93000 as a scalable platform has allowed us to continually expand its range and functionality to accommodate testing devices for a wide range of applications. This flexibility is a core element of the V93000’s long-term success. We were also the first ATE company to establish long-term compatibility with a single test platform – this is crucial for customers migrating to the next generation of test capabilities. In addition, through our market leadership and customer relationships, we understand what lies ahead for the industry so that our R&D efforts continue to stay on top of HPC requirements.

Figure 3. Advantest has continually developed industry-first HPC-level capabilities for the V93000 SoC test platform.

Figure 3 illustrates the evolution of our leadership in HPC innovations, highlighting some of our computationally focused developments. One of the more recent of these developments is the XPS256 device power supply (DPS), which scales from milliamps to more than 1000 amps, covering all power requirements in a single DPS card. We are seeing a number of existing V93000 customers make the transition to EXA Scale for the system’s inherent capabilities as well as options such as the XPS256 and the Pin Scale 5000. When configured with these cards, the EXA Scale system is well equipped to meet exascale computing requirements for mobile, AI, HPC and other advanced devices.

Q. What else should readers know about HPC test requirements and how Advantest is addressing them?

A. Efforts to continue extending Moore’s Law rest on 3D integration – chiplets, stacked packages, FinFETs, etc. This technology is vital to the future of the industry, and it also generates new and different failure types that we have not seen before, necessitating new test approaches and faster testers. EXA Scale is the only tester that can reach 5Gbps on every pin and also has the deepest ATE memories, allowing it to deal with this advanced complexity. In addition, the XPS256 is fully integrated with the EXA Scale system and digitally controlled, so different channels can all be connected by a digital bus, so they can all be kept synchronized and completely controlled by the computational paths inside the system, with no analog factors. This has never been done before, and it allows us to be faster and much more precise in terms of controlling the voltage as well as protecting the device or the probe card. If something goes wrong, we can switch off immediately.

In addition, customers can execute software and interact with their systems via our Link Scale family of digital channel cards for the V93000 platform, which enables software-based functional testing and USB/PCI Express (PCIe) scan testing of advanced semiconductors. The card essentially behaves like your computer, communicating with the device under test through a standard high-speed serial interface to enable very fast transfer of functional and scan test content. Because the device can be interacted with on the wafer the way they’ll be used later on when they’re singulated and packaged, the user can increase test coverage and throughput simultaneously as well as realize faster time to market. 

As new HPC computing developments arise, Advantest is well-positioned to address concurrent test needs through our V93000 platform and continually expanding portfolio of best-in-class cards and peripherals.

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Advantest Cloud Solutions: Taking ATE to the Edge and Beyond. Q&A Interview with Keith Schaub and Michael Chang


Advantest Cloud Solutions (ACS) is growing quickly, comprising a robust group of offerings, as well as the ACS Solution Store. In this issue, we talk with Michael Chang, ACS VP and general manager, and Keith Schaub, Vice President of Strategy and Technology, Advantest America, to catch up on ACS and the group’s latest developments. Their comments are aggregated below.

Q. When we last conducted a Q&A around cloud solutions, ACS was newly established. As it gains momentum, can you reiterate its mission and share how ACS has evolved?

A. As we’ve discussed previously, customers have traditionally used the data generated throughout the semiconductor value chain – from design/evaluation through production to product/system-level test processes – for individual statistical details and yield improvements, but none of it’s been tied together cohesively. Our vision with ACS is to create an ecosystem that enables our customers to reap the benefits of data-driven workflows, leveraging our proven success in semiconductor test hardware to expand into software solutions. Since its inception, we have steadily expanded our offerings, as a glimpse at the ACS page on the Advantest website illustrates.

Q. How is the ACS group helping customers manage the fast-growing volumes of test data?

A. Everything is built on our real-time data infrastructure. We now know how to turn all the data that’s driving the digital superhighway into near-instant insights. With AI and machine learning (ML), we can take reams of data that formerly added little value and transform it all into continually improving insights and solutions. Traditionally, if you test a device and find that it fails, you have to take that test data offline, sending it to another team in another location to provide analysis and, hopefully, a solution. This approach takes time – usually weeks – creating a delay that chip companies and their customers can’t afford.

This infrastructure helps fulfill our vision for ACS, extending across the entire ecosystem to integrate data sources across the entire IC manufacturing supply chain. This is a revolutionary concept in semiconductor test, one that allows us to truly test the chip from start to finish and reap the benefits of the advanced insights garnered from this data like never before. Our solutions apply analytics models that enable real-time actions during production. Nothing is taken off the test floor; all analysis and action is taken in real-time during the actual test.

This streaming approach means that analytics can be completed in milliseconds, in a secure, zero-trust environment, so that fast, corrective action can be taken. Our model can be integrated into any test program, and because we offer compatibility across all Advantest hardware and software platforms, the solutions are seamless.

Q. Are there some markets for which these solutions are particularly needed?

A. The industry is moving toward zero defects in key sectors, such as the automotive industry. If one of the 1,400 or so chips typically found in our cars today were to fail, the worst that would probably happen would be that we might have to be inconvenienced by having the car towed. In an autonomous vehicle, this becomes a life-and-death proposition, so zero defects shifts from being a mere goal to becoming mission-critical. Similarly, for many medical applications, zero defects is not an option. If, for example, a surgeon is performing a remote operation for which complex chips are feeding him or her vital data, those chips cannot fail because someone’s life is, quite literally, on the line.

Q. What are the key elements that make up the real-time data infrastructure?

A. There are four main components. ACS Edge™ uses high-performance AI technology to improve semiconductor testing speed, accuracy and efficiency. It can quickly analyze large amounts of data and make decisions in real time, enabling faster and more accurate testing. ACS Nexus™ provides real-time, bi-directional control of data from distributed test floors across the semiconductor supply chain, and it works across different Advantest platforms. The multi-purpose ACS Unified Server supports compute, storage, application and container services while also providing zero-trust security for the test floor. Finally, the ACS Container Hub uses container technology to package, distribute, and run AI/ML and statistical workloads.

Q. Can you elaborate on what is meant by zero trust?

A. Zero trust is a security concept and framework that requires organizations to eliminate the assumption of trust from within their networks and systems. It prevents any user, device or application to be trusted by default, regardless of whether they are inside or outside the organization’s network. In a zero-trust model, access to resources is granted on a need-to-know basis, with strict identity verification and contextual information, such as the user’s role, device and network location. This approach helps organizations mitigate risks associated with advanced, persistent threats, insider attacks and data breaches by reducing the attack surface and preventing unauthorized access to sensitive information.

Q. How are you working with partners?

A. We developed ACS as an open solutions ecosystem where customers and ecosystem partners can develop their analytics applications on top of the real-time data infrastructure. With that said, we aren’t trying to be all things to all people – that’s not an efficient business model, nor would our customers trust it. For this program, we have engaged with key partners that have already developed a number of analytics applications and advanced test programs. These applications are fully compatible with both the data infrastructure and Advantest testers and can help analyze the essential data that our customers need, providing real-time solutions to potentially costly issues.

Customers know that time-to-volume is everything and that you can’t achieve TTV without effectively troubleshooting new and ever-more-complex chips. We’re looking forward to making some key announcements with additional partners who are major players that will bring even more value to Advantest Cloud Solutions. Joint solutions with ecosystem partners to drive smarter decisions at sort, final and system testing to improve quality, yield and efficiency are available today for demo, with production release set for fall of this year. All of these solutions will be available in the ACS Solution Store.

Q. How does the ACS Solution Store work, and how can customers utilize it?

A. The online ACS Solution Store is a convenient, trusted place for customers using Advantest ATE systems to discover, purchase and deploy production-proven, Advantest-certified apps developed by ecosystem partners. The store is an industry-first portal that drives and fosters innovation and enables the development of solutions that ultimately improve yield, quality, overall equipment effectiveness and time-to-market for the semiconductor manufacturing process. In addition, automated software can be distributed via the ACS Container Hub for containerized apps, which ensures easy, secure deployment of the apps in the test fleet. Libraries are bundled in a docker container image that executes reliably regardless of the surrounding hardware and software environment configuration.

In summary, we’re pushing the limits of what’s possible and taking test performance to new heights by elevating our edge and cloud infrastructure services. Through our ACS offerings, customers can transform their data into real-time production control, achieving excellent results and improved ROI. We look forward to updating readers on the latest developments in future issues of GO SEMI & BEYOND.

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Interview with VOICE 2023 Chairpersons

By GO SEMI & Beyond staff

Advantest’s VOICE 2023 Developer Conference will take place May 9-10 at the Santa Clara (California) Marriott. To learn what VOICE 2023 holds in store for attendees, we interviewed this year’s chairpersons: Linda Haenel, VOICE 2023 technical chair, application consultant, Performance Digital Center of Expertise, Advantest Europe; and Matt Borto, VOICE 2023 general chair, senior manager, test engineering, Analog Devices. 

Q. VOICE 2023 will be taking place in Santa Clara. How will the shift from Arizona to Silicon Valley impact the event?

A. We are celebrating the 15th anniversary of VOICE’s in-person event this year. With Santa Clara as the location, we are bringing VOICE back to its point of origin. The first VOICE event was hosted in 2006 at the same hotel.

VOICE is managed by a steering committee of volunteer representatives from Advantest and its customers located in the heart of Silicon Valley. This allows for easier participation by local semiconductor test engineers. Holding our 2023 event in the epicenter of semiconductor device innovation has special meaning. Advantest’s U.S. headquarters, which is close to the conference site, will host Workshop Day, providing customers with an excellent learning environment. We will also take advantage of holding VOICE in Silicon Valley to commemorate the 15th anniversary with special celebrations. 

Q. The theme for this year, “Beyond the Technology Horizon,” is extended from 2022. Can you talk about why you chose to retain this theme and how it ties to Advantest’s larger corporate goals and messaging?

A. The theme illustrates VOICE’s mission and ties in perfectly with the Advantest Way. We are committed to adding customer value in an evolving semiconductor value chain. To accomplish this, we need to think about the challenges of tomorrow, today. VOICE is essential for customers and Advantest to stay connected and discuss what is beyond the technology horizon and how we can continue to enable leading-edge technology.

Q. What are some of the hot trends and topics for 2023?

A. This year, we accepted more than 80 papers, and the presentations will be distributed across nine tracks. We will continue last year’s newly introduced, highly successful track, High-Performance Digital (HPD). This track features the most papers this year, along with Test Methodologies and Hot Topics.

Device complexity, massive data generation and transfer, massive scan, power consumption, thermal management, and probe tip protection are the main challenges in the age of exascale computing. We will see the latest innovations of the V93000 EXA Scale platform and strategies to address these challenges. 

Another unique topic at VOICE 2023 is the V93000 WSMM solution. Since 5G millimeter-wave applications are becoming more and more popular in the mobile industry, we can expect presentations about the related test challenges and solutions, for example, over-the-air testing.

 The semiconductor industry’s continued progress in lowering geometries and enabling more integration requires greater test innovation to achieve high-quality test as efficiently as possible. Papers addressing this subject will be presented.

Another important topic to the industry and our attendees is the potential of artificial intelligence and machine learning for adaptive testing.

Q. What do you anticipate will be some “don’t-miss” aspects of the event?

A. There will be many! First is the Welcome Reception Monday evening, where you can network with your industry peers, accompanied by the Technology Kiosk Showcase. The kiosks are a favorite part of VOICE – you get to see the latest test hardware and software and directly interact with Advantest engineers about the products. Attendees can be inspired by the latest Advantest innovations, providing a great learning opportunity in a relaxed atmosphere.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, we can look forward to inspiring keynote speeches and panel discussions, as well as the Partners’ Expo. This popular aspect of the event features booths where experts from Advantest technology partners will be available to discuss their latest products and solutions. The Tuesday evening event will be held at Levi’s Stadium, featuring a tour of the 49ers Museum.

We will close VOICE 2023 Wednesday afternoon with the Award Ceremony celebrating the best papers and honorable mentions. Also presented at the ceremony will be the 2023 Visionary Award. Endowed in 2020, the annual award recognizes an Advantest customer who has made significant, sustained contributions to VOICE over time. 

Q. Who will be delivering the always-dynamic keynote addresses?

A. While we are still finalizing our slate of keynote presenters, we have confirmed our speaker for Tuesday, May 9: Dex Hunter-Torricke, the former head of communications at SpaceX, head of executive communications at Facebook, and executive at Google. He has not only been Mark Zuckerberg’s personal speechwriter but has also worked alongside Elon Musk, Larry Page, Eric Schmidt, and former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. So, we can look forward to a high-profile keynote speaker who will share anecdotes from his time with the industry’s biggest brands to illustrate the impact of future technology on business.

One final note: We would like to take a moment to express our appreciation to all of our VOICE 2023 sponsors—in particular, our headline sponsors, ISE Labs ASE Group and Alliance ATE Consulting Group. The full list of sponsors can be found here.

To learn more about keynotes, papers and other details related to VOICE 2023, be sure to keep checking the VOICE website. And don’t forget to click here to reserve your spot!

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CREA Brings Power Semiconductor Know-how to Advantest 

By GO SEMI & Beyond staff

In June 2022, Advantest announced its acquisition of Italian ATE company CREA. As leading developer and provider of equipment for testing power semiconductors, CREA brings vital capabilities to Advantest’s portfolio of test solutions. To delve further into the acquisition and how it will benefit Advantest’s customers, we talked with Fabio Marino, director of Advantest’s Power, Analog and Controller Business.

Q: What prompted Advantest to pursue adding power semiconductor test to its capabilities?

A. When considering any strategic action, we are guided by our Grand Design, which defines the commitments and strategies needed to further our goal of enabling leading-edge technologies by adding customer value throughout the semiconductor value chain. This goes hand in hand with looking at relevant market and technology advancements.

Until recently, the high-voltage power device market was a niche, low-volume market. However, fast-growing adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) is driving heightened demand for discrete components. Demand for power semiconductors is growing significantly in response to the need to utilize power more efficiently for EV applications – we expect the market for these devices to grow by 10x over the next eight years. As a result, we realized we would need to pursue this market by bringing power semiconductor test into our portfolio.

Q. Why was CREA selected for acquisition?

A. While there are several suppliers of power semiconductor testers, we determined that CREA was the best fit for Advantest because of several factors, including its:

  • Superior technology platform, which covers both static and dynamic power test, proven over 30 years;
  • Expertise in compound semiconductors, including silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN);
  • Strong installed base, with more than 200 testers installed at semiconductor makers worldwide; and
  • Synergistic business approach, viewing customers as partners, with the goal of full solutions and support for customers’ testing needs.

Q. How is CREA being integrated into Advantest?

A. CREA will remain headquartered in Italy as a wholly owned subsidiary of Advantest Europe, within our ATE Business Group. CREA’s management team is continuing to run the subsidiary, with Advantest providing additional team support as needed.

Q. Can you talk about the company’s portfolio a bit? What makes it such a strong addition to Advantest’s offerings?

A. CREA’s proprietary technologies are key to its power device test capabilities. These include its PCI probe card interface, vital for known good die (KGD) and wafer test; LSI low stray inductance technology, essential to reduce parasite effects during test; and RTH remote test head, which works in conjunction with LSI to achieve high performance up to 1.5m away from the tester to enable handler and wafer prober use for mass production.

These products are integrated into CREA’s tester line, which comprises three product families:

  • The MT100 family, with a range of voltages and currents, which covers test requirements for static parameters from dies to complex configuration modules;
  • The MT200 family, which adds dynamic and combined parameter test to reach ranges up to 10 kV and 10 kA; and
  • The MT300 family, designed to satisfy the market’s most stringent requirements.

The CREA portfolio also includes turnkey solutions incorporating its fixture system, as well as manual and automated handlers.

Q. How do customers view the acquisition?

A. Customer reaction has been very positive. CREA has developed an excellent reputation over its 30 years of existence, and customers understand the strengths their test systems bring to Advantest and how they benefit in return. CREA will retain, to a large extent, the fast response time and flexibility it enjoyed as a standalone company, while, as a subsidiary of Advantest, its development team will have access to our broad corporate resources and collective knowledge base, which will benefit their ongoing technology advancement efforts. We’re excited by the opportunities the CREA acquisition provides for increasing customer value by enabling us to jointly develop new solutions to meet customers’ future demands.

In addition, by integrating CREA’s product lineups, development capabilities, customer base, and outstanding technical team into Advantest, we’ll be able to expand our solutions for power semiconductors. This will benefit both our company and our customers by allowing us to directly contribute to the broad goal of realizing a Net-Zero society. 

Q. What’s the bottom line for Advantest with this acquisition?

A. We intend to be a key player in the high-power market, and we believe that the technology CREA brings to the table will give us a competitive advantage, allowing us to have a significant market share. Moreover, CREA’s synergy with our established customer relations and global account setup will combine to help drive sales for these power semiconductor test products. 

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Q&A Interview with Don Blair and Ronald Goerke

 By GO SEMI & Beyond staff 

This year, Advantest’s VOICE Developer Conference returns to in-person following 2021’s Virtual VOICE International. VOICE 2022 takes place May 17-18 at the OMNI Scottsdale Resort and Spa Montelucia in Scottsdale, Arizona. Don Blair, business development manager for Advantest, and Ronald Goerke, U.S. chair for VOICE 2022, sat down with our staff to talk about what attendees can look forward to at this year’s event. 


Q. Before we dive into VOICE 2022, let’s take a quick look back at last year’s online event. How did it go, and what did you learn from Virtual VOICE attendees?

A.  We had very high attendance last year – more than 400 registrants with 320 live event attendees. With the pandemic preventing people from traveling, we weren’t entirely sure what to expect, but thanks to the brand recognition we’ve built for VOICE over the past 15 years, enthusiasm to participate was strong.

The virtual event adhered to the brand, which is to be not esoteric or theoretical, but to impart practical, high-value information. The attendee feedback from 2021 underscores this: 97% recommended the event to colleagues; 93% called it a valuable use of their time; 91% said the technical program focused on problem solving; and 87% said they learned skills that were directly applicable to their jobs. [Note: Articles based on last year’s attendee-chosen Best Papers can be found in the November 2021 issue of GO SEMI & Beyond.]


Q. What is the VOICE brand? What makes the event unique?

A. The test engineers who develop programs for our tester platforms are the catalysts for producing the content that’s presented at VOICE – it’s truly created by engineers for engineers. The focus is on providing information that’s not only interesting and engaging, but also highly applicable to everyday test engineering. Every year, attendees tell us that they come away from the event with practical knowledge that they’ll be able to put to use right away.

Not only are the papers presented during the conference itself eminently useful – VOICE is the only ATE industry event that also offers an in-depth day of workshops that allow attendees to obtain hands-on experience. Workshop Day, which takes place on May 19, offers the opportunity to write test programs and compile and debug code in a real-time, no-risk setting. This year’s workshops will offer a deep dive into: EXA Scale DUT Board Design, Advanced RF Test Techniques, Edge Computing with our ACS Edge 2.0 solution, and Battery Management System testing.


Q. What are some of the hot trends and topics for 2022?

A. We have more than 80 presentations being given across nine topical tracks, including two that are new this year: High-Performance Digital (HPD), and Emerging New Market Trends and Drivers. The tracks that comprise the most papers include Test Methodologies and 5G/Millimeter Wave, as well as HPD. [Note: The full technical program is available here.]
A prime focus at this year’s VOICE event is the exascale computing story. In this age of convergence, smaller-geometry nodes are driving a multitude of changes in the industry, driving demand for “more”: vector memory, power, power domains, data, multi-site testing, etc. The sheer volume of data coming from multiple sources must be processed, creating the need for exascale computing. Combine this with the huge trend toward digital parts, which enables greater quantities of smaller devices to be fabricated on a single wafer, and you have a pressing need for testing at the exascale level. At VOICE, you’ll be hearing more about this topic and how we engineered our V93000 EXA Scale system to target advanced digital ICs at the exascale performance class.

Another topic drawing increased attention this year is testing for automotive applications. We have a variety of papers being presented that cover such topics as power management and battery management for electric cars, automotive loadboard design, and testing challenges related to automated capabilities such as ADAS [automated driver assist systems]. 

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) techniques continues grow, as these technologies can help improve test flows and test times, as well as boost yields. A related area of development is adaptive test capabilities, which use AI/ML algorithms to build knowledge about a wafer lot and adjust decision-making and actions accordingly. An example of this is our recently announced ACS Adaptive Probe Cleaning solution.

ACS APC is part of the Factory Automation track, another topic that has grown in popularity. With the push to make fabs and foundries more automated, companies are looking to cut costs, but they need ways to ensure processes are reliable and repeatable; otherwise, there’s no value in making these changes.


Q. VOICE always features a unique mix of keynote speakers. Whom can we look forward to hearing from in May?

A.  We have some dynamic speakers on tap. Our first two keynotes are on Tuesday morning, May 17, leading off with David Eagleman, a Stanford neuroscientist, bestselling author, and host of the PBS series “The Brain.” Dr. Eagleman is known for his work in such areas as sensory substitution, time perception, brain plasticity, synesthesia, and neurolaw. His keynote will focus on how the brain works and its biggest mysteries.  He will also talk about a new way to pass information to the brain using brain/machine interfaces.

Next up will be Steve Pateras, VP of marketing and business development at Synopsys. With more than 30 years’ experience in test-related technology, Steve is currently focused on driving Synopsys’ expansion into silicon lifecycle management, which is the focus of his talk, titled “Why It’s a Good Thing to Have Your Test Head in the Clouds.” Severe silicon device shortages, combined with ever-increasing device and system complexities, are driving the need to maximize both manufacturing yield and test efficiency like never before. Steve will talk about this, citing the need for a new test ecosystem to enable secure, high-bandwidth data communication between devices on testers and analytics engines situated either near each tester for low-latency actions or in the cloud for Big Data-driven optimizations.

On Wednesday morning, May 18, our third speaker will be the always popular G. Dan Hutcheson, vice chair at TechInsights/VLSIresearch. Following his talk on the latest chip industry trends and drivers, Dan will explore these themes at greater length during a virtual fireside chat session with Manish Bhatia, executive VP of global operations at Micron Technology.


Q. What else should attendees plan to check out at VOICE 2022?

A.  The event will kick off Monday evening, May 16, with a welcome reception and the opening of the Technology Kiosk Showcase, where you can connect with experts to discuss test challenges and engineering solutions based on the latest Advantest innovations. At the Partners’ Expo, open throughout both Tuesday and Wednesday, our technology partners will be available to chat with attendees about their latest test offerings and solutions.

VOICE 2022 will close out Wednesday afternoon with the closing award ceremony, where we’ll recognize this year’s best papers and honorable mentions, as well as the 2022 Visionary Award recipient. Last year’s inaugural Visionary Award recognized Derek Lee, a test engineering manager with Nvidia and longtime presenter and participant at VOICE.

After not taking place in 2020 and being held virtually in 2021, VOICE 2022 will be a welcome return to normal. We look forward to seeing everyone at our beautiful venue in Scottsdale.

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